Undercover Videos Could Bring Down Common Core

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Common Core educational standards have been criticized from all sides. Some say they represent President Obama’s attempt to launch a federal takeover of public education. Others take issue with the standards themselves, which often seem at odds with childhood development research. And many parents and teachers have slammed the supplemental material for the confusing and bizarre ways children are being taught math and other important subjects.

But a new series of undercover videos from Project Veritas exposes Common Core from a different angle, making the case that this is little more than a scheme to sell textbooks. At the core of the first video is an interview with Dianne Barrow, the West Coast sales manager for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

“I hate kids,” Barrow told the guerrilla journalists. “I’m in it to sell books. Don’t even kid yourself for a heartbeat.”

Barrow went on to say, “It’s all about the money. You don’t think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education, do you? No, they’re in it for the money.”

The problem, of course, isn’t that a textbook publisher is “in it for the money.” Who would honestly assume otherwise? The problem comes when the federal government begins crafting education bills that put publisher profits ahead of what’s best for America’s schoolchildren. Right now, states are not specifically required to buy certain books or even teach to the Common Core standards, but federal stimulus money is hard to pass up. States get an extra $350 million a year to go along with the program.

Barrow denied that publishers lobbied for the standards…”but now they go after the money.”

“It’s just like any business,” she said. “If you’re selling t-shirts, you want your t-shirts to fit everybody, right? So you can sell it to everybody.”

Clearly, the videos have textbook publishers scrambling. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Tuesday that Barrow had been fired. “These statements in no way reflect the views of HMH and the commitment of our over 4,000 employees who dedicate their lives to serving teachers and students every day,” the publishers told the UK Daily Mail.

James O’Keefe, the man behind Project Veritas, said that more videos would be coming out soon. “I hope and pray that ‘they’ call this an isolated incident,” O’Keefe said, “as we are putting every textbook publisher on notice that we plan to continue to release these videos exposing Common Core.”